Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD)

2018-2019 schedule of events below 

The annual Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development (GPPD) seminar series covers a range of topics that are of interest to trainees including abstract writing, job search skills, poster presentation skills, and career opportunities.

GPPD topics are organized by core competencies that are nationally recognized in graduate education. We continue to consult with faculty and students to develop additional GPPD seminars to align with programmatic and student needs.


To assist students and postdoctoral scholars in tracking and sharing their skills acquisition, the Graduate School has instituted micro-credentialing, wherein GPPD seminar attendees earn credentials or digital "badges" for the knowledge and skills they acquire from the GPPD series and related activities. Micro-credentials are shareable on personal LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Mozilla Backpack pages to show off skills that are highly desired by employers but may not be apparent from a transcript or diploma. Learn more about micro-credentials.


GPPD launch event

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018

Student Center, Hilberry EF

Dive in to the GPPD seminar series with three back to back sessions on crucial topics for graduate school and career success. Refreshments provided. 

Leadership styles digital badge10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Leadership styles 

This session is aimed at providing you with an overview of evidence-based research about leadership styles. Attendees will take a leadership self-assessment and learn more about how leadership styles can be harnessed to effect change in a group or organization. *Micro-credential available in Leadership and Professionalism

Session leader: Marcus Dickson, Ph.D., CLAS Psychology, Professor and Director of Applied Psychology and Organizational Research Group APORG 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe differences between leadership styles including transactional and transformational leadership.
  • Identify one's own current style of leadership as well as one's personal leadership goals.
  • Apply new knowledge on leadership to the workplace.


Microagression digital badge11 a.m. to Noon – Microaggressions

Microaggressions are slights, insults, or exclusions directed to people with less power, that occur beyond the awareness of the person engaging in them. Nevertheless they can be hurtful and challenge our confidence. In this session, attendees will learn more about the power of microaggressions and how to cope effectively with them. *Micro-credential available in Teamwork and Collaboration–Diversity and Inclusion

Session leader: Donyale Padgett, Ph.D., CFCPA, Department of Communication, Associate Professor – Diversity, Culture & Communication  

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Define and identify microaggressions as they occur in academic and workplace contexts.
  • Describe the causes and consequences of microaggressive behavior.
  • Identify strategies to cope when experiencing microaggressions.


Negotiation skills digital badgeNoon to 1 p.m. – Negotiation skills 

Negotiation is a part of everyday life. In this session, attendees will learn about active negotiation strategies with respect to job hunting and salary negotiation to ensure that both parties achieve a positive outcome. *Micro-credential available in Teamwork and Collaboration–Inter-personal Awareness

Session leader: Marick Masters, Ph.D. CLAS Academic Director, Center for Labor Studies 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify challenges and opportunities in negotiation across diverse contexts.
  • Demonstrate assertive and professional behavior while negotiating for roles, resources, and salary.


personal integrityPersonal integrity in the workplace 

Noon to 1:30 pm, Wednesday, September 26, 2018 in the Student Center, 384 

Attendees will discuss ethics in the context of the workplace and how this might be similar or different than in academic contexts. *Micro-credential available in Professional Ethics

Session leader: Lars Johnson, Ph.D. CLAS, Psychology 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to 

  • Describe the value of one's own personal responsibility and integrity to one's work team.
  • Identify appropriate and inappropriate ethical behavior in work contexts.
  • Describe one's personal ethics code that is aligned with research and professional ethics guidelines.

Writing research statements digital badgeWriting research statements 

4 to 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in the UGL Community Room 

A strong research statement is a key component of a successful job search in academia or at other research-intensive institutions. In this seminar, we will learn what a research statement is, what components it should contain, how long it should be, the importance of good writing and background research, and what constitutes a winning research statement. This will be a hands-on seminar, with writing exercises and the opportunity to compare research statements written by others. 

Session leader: Peter Hoffmann, Ph.D (CLAS, Professor of Physics)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Explain the important role of research statements in job applications.
  • Identify the essential components of a research statement.
  • Apply professional writing techniques.
  • Compose strong professional research statements.
  • Critically examine and compare research statements to understand how they may be evaluated by potential reviewers.

Video recording 

conflict managementConflict Management

Noon to 1:30 p.m., Monday, October 22, 2018 in the UGL Community Room

Conflict is a part of everyday life. Conflict management is a method by which two or more parties find positive outcomes to disagreements among themselves or others. This microcredential represents understanding of the drivers behind conflict and resolution strategies (peace-making, peace-building and peace-keeping) at the personal and inter-group levels.

Session leader: Barbara Jones, M.A. (CLAS, Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Program)

After attending this seminar, attendees will be able to 

  • Identify causes and resolutions of conflict across diverse contexts
  • Understand why conflict requires negotiation and resolution
  • Learn methods and adopt steps to manage and resolve conflict 

Video recording

Three Minute Thesis digital badgeThree Minute Thesis (3MT) prep 

4 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, October 25, 2018 in the UGL Community Room 

This GPPD will provide information about the Wayne State University 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The 3MT was developed by the University of Queensland and consists of a 3-minute long oral presentation on a master's thesis or dissertation. Session leaders will describe the competition and offer helpful strategies for creating competitive 3MT presentations. Students who win their school or college competition will go on to compete for monetary prizes at the WSU Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium on March 5, 2019.

Session Leader: Dr. Denise Vultee, Communication 

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of distilling their research into a 3MT format.
  • Describe the rules and procedures of the 3MT competition.
  • Identify best practices in visual and oral communication strategies for the 3MT competition. 
  • Create a competitive 3MT presentation to be entered into their department/school/college competitions. 

NOTE that those who pass their 3MT at the departmental level and participate at the university level at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Sympostium on March 5, 2019 will receive the micro-credential

Video recording

abstract writing digital badgeAbstract writing 

4 to 5:30 p.m., November 6, 2018 in the UGL Community Room

This seminar provides preparation in writing abstracts for the upcoming Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium, other research conferences, and manuscript publication in academic journals. Attendees should bring an abstract they are working on OR an abstract they have previously submitted, as the seminar will involve review and discussion of work in progress to help prepare for future submissions. 

Session Leaders:  Paul Stemmer, Ph.D. (Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), David Merolla, Ph.D. (CLAS, Department of Sociology), Sara Tipton (ITA Coordinator, English Language Institute), Richard Marback, Ph.D. (CLAS, Department of English)

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify essential elements of an abstract for conferences and manuscript publications.
  • Provide constructive feedback for colleagues regarding their abstract writing.
  • Write a competitive abstract for submission to conferences or journals.

NOTE that abstracts for the Graduate Research Symposium and micro-credential are due to the Graduate School by January 30, 2019. Click here for the abstract form and guidelines. 


BEST community engagement | RSVP

Noon to 1:30 p.m., November 13, 2018, Student Center, Hilberry D

This is a 90-minute seminar event that will address employment in the community for biomedical doctoral trainees and postdoctoral scientists interested in exploring multiple career pathways.  Faculty and staff are welcome to attend. The presenter has pursued a career in this domain. Q&A will follow the presentation.

Session leader: Shelly Tucker, Ph.D., former CEO of Corrections2Community

building an online network badgeLanding a career with LinkedIn | RSVP

Noon to 1:30 p.m., November 27, 2018, Student Center, Hilberry EF

As recruiters use social media more and more in the talent acquisition process, it is crucial for job seekers to have not only an active profile on LinkedIn, but one that stands out from the millions of users seeking the same jobs. An exceptional LinkedIn profile and online networking skills allow a job seeker to leverage the power of LinkedIn to identify, apply, and land the desired job. Advanced methods of searching and identifying prospective career opportunities, connecting and engaging with key personnel and influencers, will create a profile that will get be noticed.

Session Leader: Jay Johnson, TEDx speaker, designated Master Trainer (ATD), and organizational consultant

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to

  • Demonstrate application of best practices in their own LinkedIn profiles as evaluated by the presenter

Poster Design and Presentation 

4 to 5:30 p.m., January 16, 2019, UGL Community Room, 3rd Floor

In this session, attendees will learn best practices in designing posters for presentation at conferences as well as presenting poster information to conference attendees. Recommended prep for those intending to present at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium on March 5, 2019

Session Leader: Mary Simmons, Biomedical Marketing, Medical Communications, WSU School of Medicine

After attending this GPPD, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify best practices in poster design including use of graphics, font, organization, and scope.
  • Describe the scope of one's poster presentation to create an effective poster.
  • Provide and welcome feedback to improve poster design skills.
  • Describe in 5-10 minutes the highlights of one's poster research.
  • Provide and welcome feedback to improve oral presentation skills.

GPPD archive

View past events, download presentation materials and listen to recorded audio.

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